In the four plus years that we have been Permanent Residents of Mexico, many a curious observer (genuine, respectful ones and a fair share of critics) have asked us if our children aren’t missing out on the “American Dream”. Some of the more brazen ones have suggested that we are “sellouts” or that we have somehow renounced our allegiance to our country of birth. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I am curious to examine what this culturally indoctrinated notion of the “American Dream” is.
Is it a home by the sea with a white picket fence, children who are raised by nannies, parents who are strangers to each other and slaves to their work? Is it the sitting in rush hour traffic for hours on end, shopping at big box corporate-owned chain stores, spending the majority of your paycheck on over-inflated mortgages, commuting costs and medical care—trying to navigate a broken healthcare system that is pharmaceutical happy and bottom-line driven?
Is it about being on autopilot, of being disconnected rather than connected?
If so, I don’t want any part of that “Dream”—American or otherwise.
I don’t want my family’s access to adventure to be limited to a hoped for bi-yearly vacation and break from the grind of modern day life. I want fun and freedom to be built into the very fabric and ebb and flow of our days—every one. Why not?
“Your family is so lucky” is another sentiment often shared with us.
Our Dream did not realize itself overnight, upon a single wish or in the blink of an eye. We are not trust babies, lottery winners nor highly skilled investors. Life hasn’t been perfect north nor south of the border. We have experienced our fair share of setbacks and heartaches—health, financial, loss of loved ones—you know, life.
As Oprah Winfrey so accurately states, “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.”
If you are not particularly smitten with your current reality, there are other ones out there for the making and the taking.
How? A dream and a dash of courage are good places to start. Planning, budgeting, marketable skills, resourcefulness, persistence and connecting with other like-minded people go along way too!
We are choosing to maximize our experience here on planet Earth and to provide our children with a multitude of experiences so that when they venture out on their own, they will have the skills to confidently design their own place in this human experience.
As I tell them every night at bedtime, “Be true to yourself, and the rest will fall in place.” Simple and true.
This is not our American Dream nor even our Mexican Dream. It is just simply and joyfully, Our Dream.
What is yours?
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